September snow leads to outages
An early September snowstorm that dumped 12-15 inches around the Valley and saw wind gusts reaching up to 80 MPH disrupted electricity for many SLV REC members.
The San Acacio area was the first affected by the squall as a sandstorm blew through on Sept. 8 leaving more than 10 poles and several lines down. REC crews worked to restore electricity to the members but were soon hit with the incoming snowstorm.
The heavy wet snow that moved in took down tree branches and electrical lines across the Valley disturbing power to nearly 6,700 REC members, mainly in the Creede, South Fork and Del Norte areas. However, outages were seen across REC’s service territory.
All three line crews spent hours navigating the deep snow, removing tree branches— and in some cases, entire trees— to restore services. In addition, REC’s substation techs, servicemen, staking engineers, fiber techs and various staff members braved the elements to help however they could. The customer service department fielded numerous phone calls and the dispatch area buzzed with activity. All REC employees were focused on a common goal— to restore power to members as quickly and safely as possible.
The average outage lasted a little over nine hours for members, with the longest lasting around 45 hours. In addition, a few irrigation services in the Stockade and San Acacio areas were down for a few days due to severe damages. A total of 25 poles had to be replaced in 13 different locations. Although the outages only lasted a few days, cleanup work and repairs continued for two weeks following the storm.
REC Operations Superintendent Shawn McKibbon was impressed with his crews; “they did great, working through adverse conditions to restore power. They worked long days and worked hard to get the job done!”
Shawn wasn’t the only one happy with the crews’ actions following the storm; many members were thankful and appreciative as well. Numerous comments were posted on REC’s Facebook page expressing gratitude and appreciation: “Be safe— thanks to all linemen… Thank you all for being so efficient. We are truly blessed with such a great team of workers… Thank you to the SLV REC crews who worked all night in miserable conditions to get our power back on by 5 a.m. at my place in Alpine. The heavy snow has torn several tree limbs off in my yard and crushed a few others under the load…” One member sent a thank you card to the office, “Just wanted to express my thanks to SLV REC for coming to Masonic Park to get a tree off a power line on Pavilion Drive after the snowstorm. Also, your 24-hour hotline was awesome, letting us know you were aware of the outage. Let me tell you, that is not nearly as simple to get that information in Oklahoma. Thanks again!”
Following a major storm that caused so many downed limbs and power lines, it was encouraging for the crews to hear the words of thanks. SLV REC members are the best!